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Oracle Database Offerings in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Karan Singh
Director Product Management, Solution Architecture

Oracle offers multiple cloud-based database options to meet a wide variety of use cases. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure-based databases are available on bare-metal machines, virtual machines (VMs), and Exadata in different sizes. These offerings come with different levels of managed services, features, and price points, which makes it easy to find an option that meets your specific requirements.

A 100 percent compatibility design ensures that all of Oracle’s database solutions use the same architecture and software, which enables you to leverage the same skills and support, whether you deploy the solutions on-premises, in a private cloud implementation, or in Oracle Cloud.

Oracle offers Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) guidelines and associated software and tools for high availability, disaster recovery, and data protection. All these technologies, like Real Application Clusters (RAC), Data Guard, and GoldenGate, and MAA best practices are also available for Oracle Cloud Databases.

All cloud-based options are available in pay-as-you-go and monthly flex pricing options and allow you to leverage your existing licenses in a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) model. For detailed information about the included Oracle Database features, options, and packs, see the Permitted Features section of Oracle Database Licensing Information User Manual.

In this post, I discuss the key features of different managed Oracle Database options for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and compare them on the basis of performance, management, high availability, scalability, and cost. I also provide some prescriptive guidance to help you decide which option is a good choice for your use case.

Scope

Oracle provides a wide range of industry-leading on-premises and cloud-based solutions to meet the data management requirements of small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large global enterprises. This post covers only managed Oracle Database offerings for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. It does not cover installing and operating Oracle (and other) databases directly on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute instances or Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer for on-premises. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Autonomous Transaction Processing and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Autonomous Data Warehouse are also not discussed here, these will be covered in a separate post.

This post also does not cover other database options, such as Oracle Database Schema Cloud Service, Oracle NoSQL Database, or Oracle MySQL. You can find more information about these offerings and others in the Database documentation.

Hardware Options for Oracle Database in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supports several types of database (DB) systems that range in size, price, and performance. One way of classifying the systems is on the basis of their underlying compute options. You can provision databases in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure on Exadata machines, as well as on bare metal and virtual machine compute shapes.

  • Exadata DB systems consist of a quarter rack, half rack, or full rack of compute nodes and storage servers, tied together by a high-speed, low-latency InfiniBand network. Exadata DB systems are available on X6 and X7 machines.
  • Bare metal DB systems consist of a single bare metal server running on your choice of bare metal shapes. Locally attached NVMe storage is used for BM.DenseIO shapes.
  • Virtual machine DB systems are available on your choice of VM.Standard shapes. A virtual machine DB system database uses Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Block Volume storage instead of local storage. You specify a storage size when you launch the DB system, and you can scale up the storage as needed at any time.

Managed Oracle Database Offerings in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle offers the following managed database services running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

  • Oracle Exadata Cloud Service
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Database
  • Oracle Database Cloud Service

Oracle Exadata Cloud Service

This service offers Oracle Databases hosted on Oracle Exadata Database machines. Exadata Cloud Service configurations were first offered on Oracle Exadata X5 systems. More recent Exadata Cloud Service configurations are based on Oracle Exadata X6 or X7 systems, which are the two currently available options in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. You can choose from quarter-rack, half-rack, and full-rack system configurations. With Exadata X7 shapes in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you can get up to 8 DB nodes with 720 GB RAM per node, up to 368 OCPUs, and 1440 TB raw storage or 414 TB of usable storage with unlimited I/Os.

Each Exadata Cloud Service instance is configured such that each database server of the Exadata system contains a single virtual machine (VM), called the domU, which is owned by the customer. Customers have root privileges for the Exadata database server domU and DBA privileges on the Oracle databases. Customers can configure the system as they like, and load additional agent software on the Exadata database servers to conform to business standards or security monitoring requirements.

All of Oracle’s industry-leading capabilities are included with Exadata Cloud Service, such as Database In-Memory, Real Application Clusters (RAC), Active Data Guard, Partitioning, Advanced Compression, Advanced Security, Database Vault, OLAP, Spatial and Graph. Also included is Oracle Multitenant, which enables high consolidation density, rapid provisioning and cloning, efficient patching and upgrades, and significantly simplified database management. In Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you can launch DB systems in different availability domains and configure Active Data Guard between them, along with using RAC for improved availability. Exadata Cloud Service is available through the Oracle Cloud My Services portal and the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance: Highest-performance managed Oracle Database offering in the cloud.

Management: Best management features including deployment, patching, backups, and upgrading, with rolling updates for multiple nodes.

High availability: Best HA with support for 8-node RAC based database clustering.

Scalability: Best scale-out option.

Cost: Exadata Cloud Service shapes are charged a minimum of 744 hours for the first month of the cloud service, whether or not you are actively using it, and whether or not you terminate that cloud service prior to using the entire 744 hours. For ongoing use of the same instance after the first month, you are charged for all active hours. Additional OCPUs are billed for active hours for the first month and ongoing use. This is generally the costliest managed DB option in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, although higher-end bare metal shapes with similar resources, the pricing is not far apart. When evaluated in terms price/performance ratio, Exadata excels.

More information: Features, Pricing, Documentation

Guidance: Exadata Cloud Service is the most powerful Oracle Database, with all of the options, features, and Enterprise Manager Database Packs. Offering the highest performance, high availability, and scalability, this option is a great match for mission-critical and production applications. It is engineered to support OLTP, data warehouse, real-time analytic, and mixed database workloads at scale. It also typically costs more than other Oracle Cloud database options, but if you calculate in terms of price/performance ratio (like you should), the value it provides exceeds other alternatives. With the introduction of X7-based options, you can now start or scale down to zero cores, which makes the entry price point of Exadata Cloud Service lower than previous Exadata options. If your Database needs to scale beyond 2 nodes, Exadata Cloud Service that offers up to 8 nodes is recommended. Another good use case is consolidating a lot of databases using Exadata Cloud Service rather that deploying them on virtual machines. Other managed Database offerings have limitations in terms of I/O throughput and storage capacity which makes Exadata Cloud Service a good option when higher performance or capacity is required.

Note: Two additional Exadata services are not available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure but are relevant for several use cases:

  • Exadata Cloud at Customer is similar to Oracle’s Exadata Cloud Service but is located in customers’ own data centers and managed by Oracle Cloud experts. This service enables a consistent Exadata cloud experience for customers whether on-premises or in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure data centers. This enables customers to use Exadata in their own data centers and behind their own firewalls for reasons such as data sovereignty issues, legal, regulatory, privacy or compliance requirements, sensitive data, custom security standards, extremely high SLAs or near zero latency requirements.
  • Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service is a good entry-level service for running Oracle Database in Oracle Cloud. It delivers an affordable and fully managed Oracle Database 12c Release 2 experience, with enterprise options, running on Oracle Exadata. It’s generally a good match for running line-of- business or SMB production apps. It’s also great for rapidly provisioning dev, test and quality assurance databases, and for quickly standing up multi-purpose sandbox environments. 

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Database

The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Database service is managed by the Database Control Plane running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and uses the platform’s native APIs. It is available through the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console and integrates natively with all the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure platform features and services, such as compartments, audit, tagging, search, Identity and Access Management (IAM), Block Volume, and Object Storage. The Database service offers 1-node DB systems on either bare metal or virtual machines, and 2-node RAC DB systems on virtual machines. You choose the shape when you launch a DB system.

Bare Metal Shapes

Bare metal DB systems consist of a single bare metal server with locally attached NVMe storage. Each DB system can have multiple database homes, which can be different versions. Each database home can have only one database, which is the same version as the database home.

  • BM.DenseIO1.36: Provides a 1-node DB system (one bare metal server), with up to 36 CPU cores, 512 GB memory, and nine 3.2 TB (28.8 TB total) locally attached NVMe drives
  • BM.DenseIO2.52: Provides a 1-node DB system (one bare metal server), with up to 52 CPU cores, 768 GB memory, and eight 6.4 TB (51.2 TB total) locally attached NVMe drives

Virtual Machine Shapes

You can provision a 1-node DB system on one virtual machine or a 2-node DB system with RAC on two virtual machines. Unlike a bare metal DB system, a virtual machine DB system can have only a single database home. The database home has a single database, which is the same version as the database home. A virtual machine DB system database uses Oracle Cloud Infrastructure block storage instead of local storage. The number of CPU cores on an existing virtual machine DB system cannot be changed.

  • VM.Standard1 virtual machines: Provisioned on X5 machines. Five VM options are available with 1 to 16 CPU cores and 7 GB to 112 GB memory.
  • VM.Standard2 virtual machines: Provisioned on X7 machines. Six VM options are available with 1 to 24 CPU cores and 15 GB to 320 GB memory.

Performance: High performance with the bare metal option, and good performance with virtual machine shapes.

Management: Very good management features including deployment and backups.

High availability: Offers 2-node RAC-based database clustering. Data Guard is also available.

Scalability: Very good scalability with CPU and storage scaling in bare metal option. Good scalability with storage scaling in virtual machine option.

Cost: The virtual machine option is available at a very good price point. The bare metal option is more expensive than the virtual machine option but generally less expensive than the Exadata Cloud Service, depending on the shape and number of cores chosen.

More information: Features, Pricing, Documentation

Guidance: If you are just starting with Oracle Cloud and plan to mainly use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services, you will find it easier to use the OCI Database service because it natively integrates with the rest of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure features. If you want to use RAC, the Database service is a good option because Oracle Database Cloud Service does not yet offer RAC for the databases that it deploys in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The maximum storage available on a virtual machine database in this option is 40 TB of remote NVMe SSD block volumes. For bare metal, it is 51.2TB NVMe SSD raw, ~16TB for two-way mirroring and ~9TB with three-way mirroring. Using mirroring with bare metal option is a best practice and highly recommended for any production workloads. If your storage needs are bigger than these options and you want a managed database offering without the need for techniques like sharding, Exadata with up to 1440 TB of raw storage becomes a good option.

Oracle Database Cloud Service

Oracle Database Cloud Service can deploy databases on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic, and Oracle Cloud at Customer. As I mentioned before, I am focusing only on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure-based offerings. Database Cloud Service relies on an underlying component of Oracle Cloud named Platform Service Manager (PSM) to provide its service console and its REST API. As a result, the Database Cloud Service console has the same look and feel as the service consoles for other platform services like Oracle GoldenGate Cloud Service and Oracle Java Cloud Service, and the endpoint structure and feature set of the Database Cloud Service REST API is similar to those of the REST APIs for other platform services. Database Cloud Service also integrates nicely with Identity Cloud Service for authentication and authorization. Database Cloud Service is available through the Oracle Cloud My Services portal.

With Database Cloud Service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you can provision two types of databases:

  • Single instance: A single Oracle Database instance and database data store hosted on one compute node.
  • Single instance with Data Guard standby: Two single-instance databases, one acting as the primary database and one acting as the standby database in an Oracle Data Guard configuration.

Outside of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Database Cloud Service can also provision 2-node clusters with RAC, two 2-node RAC clusters with one acting as a standby in a Data Guard configuration, and a 1-node database configured as a Data Guard standby. You can find more information about all possible Database Cloud Service configurations here.

You must choose one of the following shapes when you use Database Cloud Service to launch a DB system in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

Bare Metal Shapes

Bare metal DB systems consist of a single bare metal server with remote block volumes.

  • BM.Standard1.36: Provides a 1-node DB system (one bare metal server), with up to 36 CPU cores, 256 GB memory, and up to 1 PB of remote block volumes.
  • BM.Standard2.52: Provides a 1-node DB system (one bare metal server), with up to 52 CPU cores, 768 GB memory, and up to 1 PB of remote block volumes.

Virtual Machine Shapes

You can provision a 1-node DB system on one virtual machine or a 2-node DB system with RAC on two virtual machines. Unlike a bare metal DB system, a virtual machine DB system can have only a single database home. The database home has a single database, which is the same version as the database home. A virtual machine DB system database uses Oracle Cloud Infrastructure block storage instead of local storage. The number of CPU cores on an existing virtual machine DB system cannot be changed.

  • VM.Standard1 virtual machines: Provisioned on X5 machines. Five VM options are available with 1 to 16 CPU cores and 7 GB to 112 GB memory.
  • VM.Standard2 virtual machines: Provisioned on X7 machines. Six VM options are available with 1 to 24 CPU cores and 15 GB to 320 GB memory.

Performance: High performance with the bare metal option, and good performance with the virtual machine shapes.

Management: Best management features, including deployment, patching, backups, and upgrading.

High availability: Data Guard based standby option available. RAC based database clustering not yet available via Database Cloud Service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Scalability: Very good scalability with CPU and storage scaling in bare metal option. Good scalability with storage scaling in virtual machine option.

Cost: The virtual machine option is available at a very good price point. The bare metal option is more expensive than the virtual machine option but generally less expensive than Exadata Cloud Service, depending on the shape and number of cores chosen.

More information: Features, Pricing, Documentation

Guidance: If you are currently using Database Cloud Service with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic and are migrating workloads from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, then continuing to use Database Cloud Service will be the easier path for migrating to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and using the databases will feel familiar. It also offers a more integrated management of existing PaaS services through the Oracle Cloud My Services portal.

If you want to use RAC in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, then the Exadata Cloud Service or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Database service options are good options, as discussed earlier. As an extension, if you want nondisruptive rolling updates, then RAC or Exadata enable that because one node at a time can be updated in those options. The maximum storage available on a virtual machine database in this option is 40 TB of remote NVMe SSD block volumes. For bare metal, depending on machine type storage is up to 51.2TB NVMe SSD raw, ~16TB for two-way mirroring and ~9TB with three-way mirroring. Using mirroring with bare metal option is a best practice and highly recommended for any production workloads. If your storage needs are bigger these options, and you want a managed database offering without the need for sharding, Exadata with up to 1440 TB of raw storage becomes a good option.

Summary

In this post, I provide a high level overview of the three managed Oracle database offerings in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: Oracle Exadata Cloud Service, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Database, and Oracle Database Cloud Service. I discuss the key features of these three options and compare them on the basis of performance, management, high availability, scalability, and cost. I also provide some prescriptive guidance to help you decide which option is a good choice for your use case. For more customized guidance, and for help with any Oracle products and offerings contact your Oracle representative. Contact information is also available on this site.  

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